The Moments Before Debate

It is just half an hour until the first Presidential debate between Hilary and Donald. I feel like this is the time of innocence. Come two hours from now something will be different in America, but what I don’t know.
The new casters are guessing the viewing audience will be bigger than the super bowl. But will it make much difference? This election is so polarizing. Trump supporters will certainly say he has won and Hilary’s will do the same. I am just so interested in who those undecided voters are and what they are looking for.
I watched an ad that was run during the Johnson/Goldwater campaign of a white man sitting In a chair talking. He started off saying he was a Republican, had been his whole life, as were his father and grandfather. He said he always voted republican, but can’t do it this time. He could not support a candidate who was supported by the Ku Klux Klan. He went on to say the party made a huge mistake during its convention when they chose Goldwater. He announced he would vote for Johnson.
You could run this exact ad and replace the names Goldwater with Trump and Johnson with Clinton and the dialogue would be true today. Don’t tell me history does not repeat itself.
I am ready to watch the history that will be made tonight. Please don’t let it me a train wreck.


Goodbye Charles Osgood

Twenty years ago when Charles Kuralt retired from CBS Sunday Morning I bawled like I was a baby. Watching CBS Sunday morning had long been my tradition. I did not care for CBS news on any other day, but somehow the long format of in depth story telling they did on Sunday morning was addictive.  CBS Sunday Morning is the reason I never could become an early church goer.  It kills me in the summer when our church goes to one ten AM service.  Thank goodness for DVR, but I still hate inturpting the viewing.
Russ quickly joined in my addiction and we would watch the show in bed every Sunday morning. Russ comforted me when Charles Kuralt left and said it all would be fine. Which it was. It took me a little while to warm up to Charles Osgood. It helped that his name was Charles.
The change in anchors did not alter my devotion to the show. I eventually came to love the new Charles as much as the old. Then today he broke my heart, just as the first did and decided at 83 it was time to retire from TV. Twenty years after I shed those tears for the Kuralt departure I found myself doing the same for Mr. Osgood.
Although he is still alive and will be broadcasting on the radio, that is not where I was used to having him. After a show all about Charles they announced that Jane Pauley would be taking over the seat. I have seen her fill in during the summer and I know she will do a good job. But I wonder if I will feel the same way about her as I have about the Charles’. Since people tend to keep this job for decades I think I have some time to grow fond of her. I wonder if I will cry when she retires too?


Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup


I know a lot of people say summer is a non-eating time for them because it is too hot. Summer is the opposite for me. Too hot is not a deterrent to eating. Vacations and ice cream do my summer diet in.  
Fall is a better healthy eating time. Getting into a regular regime helps, but the real bonus is I think of fall as the start of the soup half of the year. There is no better way to feel full than eating a nice bowl of hot soup. Sorry gazpacho, as much as I love you, you don’t curb my appetite.
Today I looked around the kitchen to find what foods needed to be used up and I found a small butternut squash and a half a can of lite coconut milk. Perfect for soup.
Now small is not my normal regiment when it comes to cooking anything so of course I added some other ingredients to make a pot of soup.

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into small chunks

3 shallots- peeled and chopped (you can use a yellow onion in place of shallots)

2 carrots- peeled and chopped

2 cups of chicken broth

2 T. Ground coriander 

2 T. fresh ginger- grated on the microplane

5 T. Light coconut milk

Zest and juice of half a lemon

Salt and pepper
Put the vegetables and the chicken stock in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook about fifteen minutes, until the vegetables are just soft.
Add the other ingredients and purée the mixture with a hand blender or in a blender.
Taste for salt and pepper.
This probably makes about four servings. Carter was shocked that I made such a small pot of homemade soup. She looked at it and said, “This is the right amount.” This coming from a person who does not like leftovers.


Physical Therapy First


A little over a month ago I woke up with a terrible back pain. It was one of those, “what did I do to myself in my sleep?” situations. Unfortunately it did not go away with my next night’s sleep,or the next or, you get the picture. I went to see my massage therapist who is more like a miracle worker. She spent the entire hour on my back and shoulder, but one hour was not enough. I went back the next week. Still no real relief. She suggested I go to see a physical therapist.
On her recommendation I went to see the people at NC center for physical therapy. The nice part about it is they are not so busy that they couldn’t see me right away and my insurance covered it without a doctor’s visit first.  
I told a friend about my back and she jumped right to, “You should go to the doctor first, you could have cancer.” I was fairly certain this was a muscle issue so I chose to ignore her.  
Two visits to PT and doing about ten minutes of exercises three times a day and my back is practically better. It is not perfect yet, so I am going to keep up the PT regime for a bit, but I am thrilled to not have the terrible pain I have endured for a month.
Sometimes you just don’t need to go to the doctor and look for something bigger. As my friend Stephanie always says, “When you hear hooves on the bridge don’t think zebras.”  
While I was at PT I mentioned that my right knee also hurt so we have been solving that problem at the same time. It was not such a bad pain, like my back, but one I had been enduring just because I thought I was getting old. Turns out that I needed to strengthen my inner and outer thighs. Huh, who would have thought that my biggest part was my weakest.
My new motto is, “don’t suffer pain.” If it hurts try a physical therapist. It is cheaper and easier than anything else you can do for yourself.


Walking Is The Answer

We have become a society much to dependent on driving. Tonight I have a meeting that is exactly one mile from my house. The person holding the meeting has limited parking and it turns out her neighbor is also having 40 guests at the same time. My friend having the meeting asked everyone to carpool. Since most of us live in the neighborhood the real request needs to be, “if you can, walk.”
If we lived in a city no one would think twice about doing anything but walk. Imagine how crazy you would seem if you hailed a cab or called an uber to go one mile. In New York City one mile is 20 North-South blocks, and those are the short blocks. Twenty blocks is nothing.
The gas crisis we have had here is affecting people getting out. Tuesday and today I went to lunch at very popular lunch spots, they both were practically empty. It was weird since you usually have to fight for a table. Both of these places are on the boulevard, close to many places of work and homes. Many people could have walked there if they wanted, but they didn’t.
When we have giant snow and ice storms plenty of people who can’t get their cars out walk to the grocery store from my neighborhood and that is in the cold and wet. Why not do it when the weather is nice? Granted carrying home a lot of bags is not that easy, but how many times do you run to the store for one or two things.
We can’t all be so busy that we can’t spend fifteen or twenty minutes to walk a mile. How much time do people spend getting ready to go to the gym, driving there, working out and driving home. If we just walked a little more to the places that are a little further you would not need to go to the gym as often, or you could eat and ice cream cone every so often.
My friend Jane says she walks so she can keep walking. Having lived with elderly parents who did not do any exercise she sees how quickly you can lose mobility from lack of use. I know that my parents living on a farm are in much better shape than they would be if they lived in a suburban setting.
So leave the car at home. Do yourself a favor and walk.


The Place Manners Still Matter

This is a cautionary tale that you need to share with your loved ones, but maybe not with your enemies.
Yesterday Russ was trying to get home from San Francisco. He took the red eye from the Bay Area to JFK, arriving at five in the morning. It seems like a good idea to get one long flight in on the first leg in the hope you might sleep, but not going to JFK. He was supposed to board a plane at eight in the morning for the quick ride back to North Carolina, but sadly that plane was having trouble. Russ texted me it was a three hour delay.
They eventually got him a new plane and once they put all the passengers on it they discovered that plane needed a new air tank. That was another hour. Finally they put all the passengers back on the plane and shut the door. Russ texted me that he was in his seat and would be going.  
Not so fast. A mother and her adult daughter started having a fight with another passenger to the point that the flight attendant told them she was going to call the authorizes if they did not settle down. They did not.
Russ texted, “We have to pull the plane back in the gate so the police can come on and arrest the mother.” The police did take the woman off the plane and her daughter followed even though she was not charged. More delays while they searched the hold for their luggage. 
The other passengers were getting restless. Now, a young man came up to the front to complain loudly to the stewardess about the many delays. She said to him, “Don’t make me call the police on you too. It is a $75,000 fine if they have to come on the plane and you are banned from ever flying on this airline again.”
Now that is a threat! I think all passengers should know how horrible the consequences are for bad behavior. It’s not just that someone might film you and put your acting badly on YouTube. No, it’s big bucks and permanent expulsion from all flights on that airline.
So no complaining once you get on the plane. And be nice to the flight attendants. Your being able to stay on that plane is completely up to them. Bad manners don’t just get you in trouble with your grandmother, they may cost you more money than you have.


Our Gas Crisis

For those of you who live in North Carolina you know all about the break in the Colonial Pipeline that practically cut off the delivery of gasoline to stations in seven states. If you don’t live in one of these mostly southern states count your lucky stars that you probably have a steady supply of petrol.
Last week, when the news reported that the pipe in Alabama had an epic failure and spilled millions of gallons of gas into a state which can hardly afford such a huge environmental disaster I knew things were going to get bad. I had less than half a tank of gas so I went immediately to fill up. It was the right instinct because now, six days later gas is practically impossible to find.
Since Russ also watches the news he filled his gas sipping Smart car up and between us were were set to drive a week or more without curbing our normal activities. What did I do wrong? I forgot to tell my “I get all my news from buss feed” teenager to fill her car.
Yesterday, it finally dawned on me to alert her to what the rest of the south knew. Of course she was already on the bottom side of a quarter of a tank so she stopped at a gas station late last night on her way home from basketball practice. 
Carter has one of the soon to be pulled off the road VW diesel cars. The station she stopped at had already run out of gasoline but the woman at the counter said they still had diesel. Only problem was Carter did not have her debit card. Home to get it and back to the station only to find she could only pump .2, that point two, gallons of diesel. The panic set in.
I told her that she could take one of the family fleet cars to school and I would get her car filled today, if possible. This is the type of thing your teenager loves you for.  
The thought of finding diesel this morning was not something I was looking forward to since I don’t even know stations that even sell diesel. So I turned to my smart phone and downloaded the “Gas Buddy” app. I was able to filter for stations that had diesel and reported having actual fuel, as well as see what time they reported that. Voila!
I drove directly to a station that was a mile from our house and although they had bags on all the gas pumps the green diesel ones were available. I pulled in, swiped my card, filled Carter’s car and was out in five minutes. The best part is I did not have to wait in any lines since they were out of gas. For once that naughty VW paid off.
Once at home my friend Lynn called from her car that was nearing empty. I pulled up my Gas Buddy and found her a station on her way home that reported having gas. She was car 20 in line when we hung up and I bet the tanks still had enough fuel for her because she did not call me back for a second station.
Our less than popular governor came on the news this morning to say that the pipeline may be fixed by tomorrow and it will take a few days for the flow of gas to get up to North Carolina. I think he wants credit for that happening so when the citizens of our state go to the polls in two months they think about this and not HB2, but sorry I am not giving him credit for the pipe in Alabama getting fixed.
I hope that you southern readers have enough gas to do what you need to do or can use this as a major excuse to stay home. I highly recommend Gas Buddy if you need to find gas. It is out there, it just is taking more work to transport it to the stations from further away. This is not a gas crisis, but a gas delivery crisis.